Nat's What I Reckon gives honey mustard chicken a makeover

Honey mustard chicken becomes 'honey bastard chicken'.
Honey mustard chicken becomes 'honey bastard chicken'. Photo: Warren Mendes

Jar sauce doesn't cut the mustard for comedian and quarantine cooking sensation Nat's What I Reckon. Here are four from-scratch recipes from his cookbook.

Honey bastard chicken

Honey mustard chicken is the most f---en relentlessly requested recipe on the [YouTube] channel and probably one of the most Defqon.1-level jar sauce abominations to ever hit the shelves. It's such rotten garbage that I went totally off that bastard of a sickly-sweet dish for years, but I'M BACK CHAMPIONS AND WE'VE FIXED IT!

The idea is to help you escape any chance of having to eat that trash again. I've loved a bit of sweet and savoury action all the way back to an unhealthy obsession with Lemon Crisp biscuits as a kid. I actually did an advert for Pizza Shapes when I was 11 years old and I got paid in Lemon Crisp biscuits … Dad ate half of them, I think. Anyway, I'm getting a little off track here – this isn't a freaken recipe for biscuits, but it is one for sweet and savoury chicken radness.

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 medium or 6 large skin-on boneless chicken thighs
  • salt
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 small bunch parsley, stalks and leaves chopped, but kept separate
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1½ tbsp honey
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock or water
  • 3 tsp plain flour
  • 125g creme fraiche or sour cream (full-fat stuff works best)
Death to Jar Sauce: Rad Recipes for Champions.
Death to Jar Sauce: Rad Recipes for Champions. Photo: Ebury Australia

METHOD

  1. Now you can of course do this with chicken breast but since making the shift to chicken thigh, life in general has become way better. Chicken breast is fine and all, but takes some work to stop it from tasting dry as a mouthful of f---en chalk. So let's crack on with the skin-on thighs. Season them with salt and place skin-side down into a . . . wait for it . . . cold pan! Soz wot? Yeah that's right champion, a cold pan with a tablespoon of oil in it. Turn on the stove to a medium heat but DON'T TOUCH the thighs. We want them to stay put face-down rendering in the oil so they get super crispy pants. Keep the heat at medium until you hear it starting to sizzle me timbers, and from that point it's 8 minutes until flip time. Once the skin side is golden brown town, use tongs to flip them over and give it a hard 5 on the other side (at the same heat).
  2. Press the chicken thigh eject button and remove from the pan and rest on a plate while you crack on with the sauce. Into the recently vacated pan, add ya butter on medium heat again. Once that has melted, f---en bang in ya onion and chopped-up parsley stalks sans leaves for 3-4 minutes until nice and soft. Then in we go with the garlic and thyme leaves and cook for another 2 minutes.
  3. Mustard be about time to put ya bloody mustardzzz in the pan along with the honey, wine and stock as you bring it ever so awesomely to a simmer, champion.
  4. In a bowl bung in your flour and spoon in a little of the pan juice then whisk together into a paste-like consistency. Now back into the pan with your magical chicken flour paste along with the creme fraiche or sour and cook for a few minutes.
  5. "OMG what the f--- is this chicken still doing on a f---en plate right now?" All good, let's fix that wagon and bung it back into the mustardy creamy non jar-ey goodness with the chicken skin facing up so the sauce doesn't kill all that crispy hard work. Give it around 5 minutes in the sauce there boss; we wanna heat it up good. Undercooked chicken is a not-so-fun ride on a slippery slide to bad news, so make sure it's heated through.
  6. Now taste that and tell me you'd rather eat that f---ing chat jar of yellow slime they call 'honey mustard sauce'. Reckon ya won't.
  7. Scatter with parsley leaves if you like, they make it look super rad.
  8. Serve with a scoop of ice-cream . . . just kidding, maybe some veg, mash or rice… whatever you like, legend face.

Serves 4-6

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Spicy pants shakshuka

Shakshuka is one of those f---en brekkie all-timers. Whether you're trying to impress someone with your seemingly wild "dinner for breakfast" moves, or blow the minds of your hungover mates at a bush doof with this one-pan wonder, shakkas has got the lot. Seriously, you can even make this on a camp stove rather than eating another load of punishingly over-spiced curry out of a paper bowl. Don't do that . . . do this.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 red onion
  • 1 red capsicum
  • 1 bunch coriander or parsley, washed and dried
  • 1–2 red chillies, halved and deseeded
  • 4+ garlic cloves (go on, bang in a whole f---en garlic bulb)
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½– 1 tsp hot paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 cans quality whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 4–6 eggs
  • 100g crumbled feta and trendy toast, to serve

METHOD

  1. Righty'o Joe. Peel and dice the red onion, de-seed the capsicum, dice it up and bang all that in a bowl together.
  2. Grab a bunch of coriander (or parsley if you hate coriander, ya weirdo), cut the hairy a--- off it, then roughly cut the stalk part away from the foliage part up the top. Keep the leafy bit aside and chop the stalks up (that's right, chop the stalks) and bang them in the same bowl as the onions and capsicum. Cut up your chilli/chillies and place in a vessel with as much roughly diced garlic as you think is reasonable . . . just kidding, all the garlic!
  3. Grab yourself a pan that has a lid and is at least a few inches deep and heat up the olive oil on a medium–high heat. Fang in the cumin seeds along with your bowl of onion and capsicum. Let that rock along for a few minutes until the veg start to soften.
  4. Then comes the bit that always makes everyone say that cliché, "Wow that smells amazing, what are youuuuu cooookiiinnnnggg?" To which you can reply . . . again, "Oh, that's probably the garlic" that will of course incidentally have the chilli land in the pan with it too, which is great 'cause we need to cook that as well as the paprika and cayenne at this point. Give it all a stir and cook for a minute or two.
  5. Into the pan go your cans of whole tomatoes, breaking them apart with a wooden spoon like a couple of hippie tourists arguing over whether Byron Bay has sold out to the point of being uncool now. Half-fill one of the emptied tomato cans with water and then, oddly enough, tip that into the other empty tin, therefore rinsing both of their remaining tomatoeyness together as you tip all that prattle-on into the pan as well. Flick in a teaspoon of brown sugar along with a pinch of salt and a crack of pepper. Try not to go too hard on the salt, 'cause there's no coming down off that high easily.
  6. Turn the heat right down and simmer simmer ya big winner for 15 minutes, or enough time to pump out a cuppla eye-wateringly bad Ben Harper covers on the melodeon, likely with some guitar-tapping a---hole called Wish who can't decide whether he's a guitarist, s--- drummer or ascending to another dimension full of annoying f---wits like him.
  7. After that whole scene has ended, bung 4–6 ding-holes into the sauce and crack ya eggs directly into them, so the thickened sauce stops the egg from running everywhere. Cook that for another 10 minutes on low with a lid on it until the eggs are cooked, or better yet – if you happen to be at a place of residence that has both a shower AND A f---en OVEN – crank the oven to 200C fan- forced (or 220C non fan-inated), fang it in that instead for 10 and go have a shower and take a long hard look at yourself, ya pest.
  8. Once the eggs look f---en cooked enough for your cooked head, throw a bit of the leftover coriander/parsley leaves over it with some feta, serve it with some trendy sourdough toast or just f---en bread. F--- it, even slam on a bit of hot sauce. A dish so good it will even offer your shattered a--- a ride home from the doof.

Serves 3-4

Gimme the fritz

Bloody love a good fritter, but f--- me there are a few trash recipes out there for them. I, too, am responsible for making some rough ones in my time that just fell apart or tasted like poorly thought out ideas. I went on that f---en bananas keto diet once and ate zucchini fritters every day for a month 'cause it was seemingly the only green vegetable I could eat without going over my carb allowance. Spent the whole month hating life. Worst.

Anyway, these are bloody awesome and the flour in them means not only are they going to stick together properly, but they're also incidentally going to launch you lovingly out of ketosis in a rocket ship full of flavours. The stress levels could not be lower for this dish, which is sometimes what is important when accelerating at full hunger speed towards the kitchen. Smiles for miles, I tells ya.

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g zucchini
  • salt
  • 225g pack halloumi
  • ½ cup self-raising flour
  • ½ cup chopped basil
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • pepper
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes, or 1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (optional)
  • extra-virgin olive oil to shallow fry (5mm deep of oil should get you across the line)
  • coriander leaves, to serve (optional)

Salad

  • 1 deseeded Lebanese cucumber
  • 1 tomato
  • a red onion

Garlic yoghurt

  • 1 cup Greek-style yoghurt
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled

METHOD

  1. First of all, let's turn the Greek-style yoghurt into a sick little side for the fritts. Into a bowl with that, followed by the zest of one whole lemon. With the same zesting device, mince a clove of garlic into the bowl and stir it together. Now, if you're a mad garlic ratbag you can bung a few more cloves in here and I sometimes do … but heads up: raw garlic is a powerful beast, so maybe proceed with a little caution.
  2. If you're up for the extra salady nonsense, then prepare ya little side salad by slicing your cucumber lengthways twice, running a knife away from you and cutting the wet seedy s--- off it. Then finely chop the cucumber, tomato and red onion, and toss together in a bowl.
  3. Cut the ends off the zucchini and coarsely grate into its own bowl, then stir though a pinch of salt. Set it aside to marinate in the salty goodness for 15 minutes. The salt draws the liquid out of the zucchini, which is what we are f---en chasing here, champions. After the big 15, dump the mix in the middle of a Chux, a cheesecloth or a few layers of paper towel. We wanna try to squeeze all the wetness from the zucchs. The paper towel is more of a squasher to get it to work, whereas the Chux or cheesecloth allows for a little wringing action. Remember that even though Chux look tough, they can f---en bust open if you give it too much throttle. Return the zucchini to the bowl.
  4. Next, coarsely grate your halloumi into the bowl of drained zucchini, then add flour, basil, egg, half a teaspoon of salt, same of pepper and of course don't forget your chilli if you're going for it. Give it all a big stir to combine.
  5. Love a good halfway point, which is where the heat should be on your stove, when you heat enough oil in a frying pan to give you 5mm depth. Using a ¼ cup measure, spoon a blob of this magical fritterness, one blob at a time, into the pan. It is hot oil so don't f---en burn yourself. Give each patty a little flatten with a spatula. It will taste righteous whatever shape it is, so don't stress ya mess too much.
  6. Cook for 2–3 minutes each side, or until they look f---en cooked. Transfer to a paper towel, or your bathroom towel if you'd love that covered in oil. Keep somewhere warm while you make your way through the rest of the bowl of fritts mix.
  7. Serve with that sick yoghurt and the salad, or even just with some coriander leaves over the top. Any way you have it, you'll dig it.

Serves 3-4

Incidentally-vegan-street coleslaw

When I first discovered what mayonnaise was actually made out of, my f---en head almost flew clean off my shoulders in amazement: "EGGS AND OIL?" I said to my dad. "Yes," he replied.

There are so many incredible dishes out there that are just as good, if not better, when made as vegan. This here is a champagne example of exactly that; you don't need even the eggs to make a righteous mayo and I'll prove it to ya. The liquid that your canned chickpeas float around in is the replacement for the eggs, and believe it or not it goes off like a vegan frog in a sock.

INGREDIENTS

  • 400g can chickpeas, drained but liquid reserved for the mayo
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • ½ tsp finely ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • ¼ red cabbage
  • ¼ white cabbage
  • 1 small red onion, peeled
  • 1 large carrot, peeled
  • 1 tsp celery or sesame seeds, crushed

Vegan mayo

  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ⅓ cup aquafaba (the liquid from a chickpea tin)
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 300ml vegetable oil
  • juice of half lemon
  • sea salt flakes

METHOD

  1. "What the flip – I need an oven for this?" Yeah, kind of. Switch your oven to 180C fan-forced (200C conventional). Line a pan or tray with baking paper. Fetch your chicky boiz, drain the legendary aquafaba (the liquid from them) into a bowl. Chickpeas are f---ing rad for a lot of reasons, by the way – they are a macronutrient goal-kicking lord – and they taste legendary, too. Once you've reserved the liquid from them, give 'em a rinse, pat dry and chuck in a mixing bowl with 2 tablespoons olive oil along with a pinch of salt, a grind of pepper and the chilli flakes. Toss all that together and pour onto the baking tray then fang in the oven for 15–20 minutes until crispy. Remove and let them cool right down.
  2. Shred your cabbages and onion as fine as you can/like into a large bowl. You can use a mandolin if you own one (no, not the small guitar) or a sharp knife to get you across the line. Grate the carrot into it the bowl, add your seeds and give a good toss together.
  3. Now let's mayo rage. There are a few ways you can make this happen: The first way is with a stick blender bunged into a jug/container just wider than the head of the stick blender itself. Whizz up the mustard, aquafaba and vinegar, then slowly drizzle in the oil as you crank the blender up and down until it makes the mixture into a classic mayo consistency. Finally, whizz in the lemon juice, and salt to taste. I prefer to use a whisk so start with the Dijon, aquafaba and vinegar in a bowl, whisking it together to combine, before slowly tipping in the oil a bit at a time and whisking the f--- out of it until it gets thick enough, followed by the lemon at the end and salt. Again, taste it, and when it suits you, you're ready to walk incidentally down Vegan Coleslaw Street.
  4. Add ⅔ cup of that awesome 'slauwce' to your veg bowl (the rest will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks), fang in your crispy chickpeas along with a pinch of salt and a crack of pepps, if you wanna, and toss it all together. Feel free to add more of the mayo if you like it a bit more sauce heavy, it's your adventure, Zelda. Now that, my friend, is a f---en beauty of a coleslaw and not a sickly-sweet bowl of wet shit that belongs in the confectionary section.

Serves 4–6 as a side

This is an edited extract of Nat's What I Reckon Death to Jar Sauce: Rad Recipes for Champions, Ebury Australia, $34.99. Photos by Warren Mendes. Buy now